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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 13:15 GMT
Bands 'urged to cut album tracks'
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen's classic Born to Run album only had eight tracks
Record labels are urging artists to put fewer tracks on albums because fans are put off by too many average songs, the Los Angeles Times has reported.

"There's been a tendency to overload CDs because the technology permits it," Sony US president Don Ienner said.

CD sales are competing with websites that give fans songs cheaply or free.

On Monday, Microsoft unveiled its online music service plans while free site Kazaa launched a campaign to fight the music industry's anti-piracy drive.

Record labels are urging the clampdown on album tracks as a way of reversing a three-year-long slump in album sales.

"The final choice will always be the artist's, but I feel - and consumer research bears it out - that the public thinks albums have too much filler," Mr Ienner told the paper.

"We all should be concerned about giving music buyers good value, whether they're getting eight, 10 or 20 songs."

Digital technology allows artists to fit more music onto albums

Digital technology mean CDs can fit twice as much music - 80 minutes - as vinyl albums..

The LA Times said changes would mean a "shake-up" in the music industry, which was structured around albums of up to 16 tracks selling for $12 (7.50).

The article compared Bruce Springsteen's 1975 album Born to Run - which had only eight tracks - against the recent chart-topping album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which had 34 songs.

Online rival

Some record company executives are now saying album albums should have 10 or fewer songs, the paper reported.

Meanwhile, Microsoft unveiled plans to launch a downloadable music service to rival legal online music sources such as Apple's iTunes and Napster, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Analysts said the company's Windows operating system - installed on millions of PCs - could give it an advantage.

The service could also be adapted to run through Microsoft's Windows Media player, which allows people to play music and video files, which is loaded on many computers.

'Call to action'

The service will be run through Microsoft's MSN website, but further details were not provided.

And free file-sharing network Kazaa launched a campaign urging its 60 million users to help it "fight back" against efforts to stop "piracy" on popular networks.

Kazaa, which allows people to swap songs through their computers, has been one of the services accused of letting fans make unauthorised copies of songs.

Nikki Hemming, chief executive of Sharman Networks, which owns Kazaa, said: "It's a call to action. We want to pump up the volume."

The $1m (640,000) campaign, which features on the internet and in magazines, includes an ad that argues music executives are "missing the opportunity to capture an enormous market".

"The world of entertainment is changing," it said.

Record sales for 'cheap' albums
19 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
iTunes 'victory over Napster'
07 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
College song-swap service shut down
02 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Apple iTunes launched for Windows
17 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Student sued over CD piracy study
10 Oct 03  |  Technology
Judge backs case against Kazaa
26 Nov 02  |  Entertainment

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